IBM's Watson AI has been a Jeopardy champion and a very creative chef, next up, Watson the weather man. Well, sort of. IBM just announced that it plans to acquire The Weather Company's products and technology, which includes Weather.com and The Weather Underground, all of which will serve as the backbone of the new Watson Internet of Things unit. The Weather Channel isn't part of the deal, but it will license data and analytics from IBM. While weather is the key word with this acquisition, the real driving force behind it is data -- and lots of it. The Weather Company's mobile apps are the fourth-most popular in the US, processing 26 billion requests daily, according to IBM. That gives Watson, and IBM's other cloud services, a rich library of data to analyze and process. The Weather Company also built up a large platform to handle all of that juicy information, which IBM will be able to take advantage of.
"We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics," Weather Company CEO David Kenny said in a statement. "Upon closing of this deal, The Weather Company will continue to be able to help improve the precision of weather forecasts and further deepen IBM's Watson IoT capabilities by enabling the integration of global atmosphere and weather insights with enterprise information to create disruptive industry solutions that optimize decision-making."
The acquisition builds on IBM's earlier partnership with The Weather Company to offer weather data insights. IBM's goal isn't just to deliver quick and dirty weather forecasts. By leveraging Watson and its cloud expertise, the company can hopefully help businesses operate more efficiently, for example by guiding shipments of products during severe weather.
[Photo credit: Ian Dagnall/Alamy]